I warned them. Many times. Sit at the table and you will be on the table. The Delaware State Education Association was swallowed whole. By who? Continue reading
Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, under the policies of Delaware Governor John Carney, has transformed the Delaware Department of Education into a support organization. Before Bunting, Carney recognized the DOE as an enforcement organization during former Governor Jack Markell’s two terms. Carney put it on Bunting to make that transformation. Did she succeed? Continue reading
Wow! Delaware Governor Carney came out with a press release regarding the recent decision to kill Regulation 225. In his statement, he actually praises Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting for her hard work during this public process. But her hard work in letting Patrick Miller steal money and insult parents in her own district is okay to ignore judging by Carney’s non-responsiveness on the issue. Warning- the following contains wording that is NOT SAFE FOR WORK! Continue reading
The Delaware Department of Education officially announced Regulation 225, which dealt with discrimination of transgender students will not move forward. I find the timing on this to be very interesting, but I will get into that right after the Delaware DOE press release: Continue reading
While the June 1st issue of the Registrar of Regulations has not come out today, the Delaware Department of Education just issued a press release on what the changes to Regulation 225 will be including a copy of those changes within the regulation. Continue reading
On June 1st, a new issue of the Delaware Registrar of Regulations will come out. Included in this will be a revision to Regulation 225. Apparently the changes will address the issue of parental involvement which caused a substantial amount of resistance to the regulation when it came out last fall.
When the revision comes out tomorrow, the public will have 30 days to give public comment on the regulation.
The original Regulation 225 limited the ability of schools to let parents know about issues when a transgender student sought help from the school. The Delaware Department of Education said they put this in there so as not to cause an issue where students could be in danger due to the school notifying the parent.
Some parents in Delaware had issues with the entire regulation and voiced their discontent. I don’t think this regulation will ever make everyone happy but it sounds like the Delaware DOE did make changes. We will find out tomorrow what they are.
This has been my biggest beef with the opposition of Regulation 225. So many of those who are full-throttle opposed to it do not want the State of Delaware dictating something that could deny them their parental rights. They don’t want schools making decisions on behalf of their children without their consent. But they have been doing this for years! And you have had the most powerful weapon at your disposal and have not utilized it!
Every year, the public school children of Delaware are forced to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It is a worthless test that really tells you nothing about your child. You don’t get the results until AFTER the school year is over. It doesn’t tell you what your child’s key strengths are. It doesn’t tell you anything. But you allow your child to sit in front of a computer over a three-week period and take a test. Based on Common Core which many of you can’t stand already.
If you stand for parental rights and deciding how your child should be educated, you can’t do it in small chunks. You need to do it full throttle, in ALL aspects. If you want to tell the state that YOU are the parent and YOU make the best decisions for your kids, do it all the way.
If you truly believe in parental rights, you will prove that by opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment which starts in a few weeks in many of our schools. I have seen thousands of you oppose a regulation you believe is harmful. But I can guarantee you the Smarter Balanced Assessment has been pumping out data about your own child to education companies around the country. I can guarantee you it is a complete waste of time, money, and resources when our kids could be getting a more well-rounded education. But you let the State do this every single year. Some kids do bad on those kind of tests. It doesn’t mean they need extra intervention. Some kids ace those tests and may not get good grades. It doesn’t mean they don’t need intervention. Students with disabilities usually do terrible on those tests because the accommodations for them are horrible. Three years of this test and we are expected to believe it is a good test? The needle hasn’t moved at all. And it is based on Common Core.
Governor Carney wants more Math coaches in our schools based on his proposed budget. He wants those coaches in middle schools. Do you know why? Because the foundations of Common Core begin in the earlier grades. And it’s been around long enough that kids who were once in elementary school are now in middle school and don’t get the math! Our kids can’t stand Common Core math. Parents can’t stand it. If we need more math coaches in middle schools it is because COMMON CORE MATH DOESN’T WORK! But every year we let the state give our kids a test on it and then the state says “our schools need help” because of the test results. This is just one reason why I am befuddled with those who oppose Regulation 225!
You say you don’t want our schools doing this but you have ignored what they have already been doing for years. And here is the kicker: the schools hate these tests as well. They won’t tell you that, but they know it. It is state and federal driven, but behind that curtain is a whole bunch of companies that are profiting off YOUR kid based on the results of these tests. And don’t let anyone tell you we will lose all federal funding over opt out. It hasn’t happened in any other state. In New York and New Jersey they had more kids opt out than the entire population of Delaware. If you want to bring sanity back to education, it starts here. I don’t bemoan you opposing this regulation. It is your right to oppose something you don’t want for your child. What I do bemoan is parents not getting involved enough. When they are ignoring what is so clearly right before their very eyes.
If you REALLY want to send a message to the Delaware Department of Education and Secretary Bunting, you should opt our child out tomorrow or today based on when you read this. All you need to do is write a simple letter to the school:
Dear Principal ______, of (insert school name here),
I am opting my child, ________ __________, out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I expect my child to attend school on the days the test is administered and receive educational instruction while the other students take the test. I do not want a call from the Principal or any teachers telling me why I should not opt my child out. As well, I do not want to receive any letters from the school or district based on the Delaware Department of Education template letter indicating I can not opt my child out. Furthermore, I will not tolerate any type of retaliation or punitive action against my child over my fundamental right to opt my child out. This type of retaliation includes, but is not exclusive to, any threat of summer school, holding them back a year, or any type of isolation activity.
Thank you for your time,
After you give this to the Principal of the school, as in hand-deliver it to them, have them sign an acknowledgment form that they received your opt out letter for your child. This way they can’t say later they never got it. It can be as simple as this:
I acknowledge that I have received an opt out letter from ______ ______, parent or guardian of ______ ________.
When you have done this, start taking a serious look at the enormous amount of data collection already going on with your child. Start looking at EVERYTHING and ask yourself “Is this what I want for my child?” If the answer is no, don’t stop with opting out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Educate yourself. Read. Learn. Don’t listen to what places like the Rodel Foundation and the Delaware DOE are telling you. Listen to what other parents and teachers at the ground level have been saying for years. Those who of us who have been in the trenches and calling our legislators and Governors out for their totalitarian approaches to education. Don’t believe the Delaware DOE is miraculously turning into a “support organization”. Because that support is designed to drive up test scores on an already flawed test. And just wait until they turn that once a year test into stealth assessments, throughout the year. Make your move now or your child and grandchildren will deal with the long-term consequences for the rest of their lives. This isn’t something you should hem and haw on. You shouldn’t mull it over. You should just do it.
The following post came to me by someone with the handle of “George Glass”. For those who know their Brady Bunch history, it should be easy to see why they chose that name, especially in light of the current controversy over Regulation 225!
Delaware pretty much exploded last month about the Department of Education’s Regulation 225, which folks focused on as the “transgender protection” regulation to the exclusion of the (arguably more interesting) racial self-identification, also included in the regulation. I say it’s more interesting, although I know that when I say WHY folks are gonna lose their collective shit because once again I’m calling it out.
Why did everyone flip about parental rights and only discuss the transgender aspect of it?
It’s cute how you thought I was asking a serious question.
It’s because Delaware, and especially southern Delaware, is bright, streaming, American-flag-on-my-everything RED, although to be fair there’s plenty above the ditch who are and lots in SLD who aren’t. Yeah, SLD. That’s what you actually call slower lower, not the LSD you see on bumper stickers. In case you were wondering.
Now, I’m not saying everyone who votes GOP is homophobic, or transphobic. I AM saying that a whole lot of people who came out in full force opposition to Reg 225 are. Most specifically, the ones who bitched about it as a parental rights issue but never once mentioned the racial self-identification. Did you even know it was in there? That IS a serious question
My goal here isn’t to change your mind. I don’t actually want you to change your mind. You can think however you want about whatever you want. Tolerance implies no lack of conviction to one’s beliefs, to misquote JFK. What I DO want you to do is admit what your actual problem with Reg 225 is. That’s all. A little honesty goes a long way. You don’t agree with “transgenders” (which isn’t a thing, btw, so….) and you don’t want kids with penises in the girl’s room and you are absolutely convinced schools are going to indoctrinate everyone and keep it all secret. Okay. Because that scenario doesn’t totally open schools up to significant liability, and individual staff to loss of career. It doesn’t even make logical SENSE that schools would seek to keep a trans kid’s identity secret at their own risk.
What you do need to understand, though, in addition to the fact that we definitely know you are using parental rights as an excuse to discriminate against kids who are already facing significant risk of self-harm, suicide, homelessness, rejection by friends and family, physical and mental and emotional abuse and assault, and an almost-unbearable sense of not even fitting in their own skin, is that we aren’t going to let you ruin the lives of innumerable CHILDREN because of your unchecked bigotry.
Do what you want, and say what you will, the fact will remain that school staff are legally obligated to NOT tell you things like that, unless there is risk of harm to the student or to others. Kids have rights, too, y’all, and if you are living with a child who identifies as transgender and you don’t already know, you might want to seriously consider having your vision, hearing, and mental acuity checked, because this isn’t a condition that happens overnight, and there are signs. If a teacher who sees your kid an hour a day a few days a week can tell, why can’t you?
Maybe it isn’t the schools that are the problem here.
A big head’s up to Alby over at Delaware Liberal for tipping me off to a New York Times article from January 10th! While Delawareans up and down the state have been scratching their heads over Regulation 225, an anti-discrimination measure for trans-gender students, the true motive behind the controversial regulation may have been in front of our eyes the entire time! Continue reading
At Del-Tech in Dover last evening, anywhere from 250-300 people showed up for a meeting on the highly controversial Regulation 225. Some of what I saw defied explanation. But what I saw this morning could bring the whole thing to a crashing halt! Continue reading
11,000 Public Comments. Huge PDF files. It must be Regulation 225, the very controversial regulation dealing with transgender student discrimination. Today, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting announced the Development team will reconvene on January 31st to discuss what to do with the regulation going forward.
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 – The Development Team will meet from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 31 at the Del-One Conference Center on Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus, 100 Campus Drive in Dover. (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 – Secretary to reconvene Development Team to review public comment on proposed antidiscrimination regulation)
I tried to read all the public comments. There is not enough time in the day. I can say those “against” the regulation are much higher than those “for”. The PDF for Delaware residents in the “for” category is 17 megabytes (mb). The one for “against” is 136mb. That is a mammoth pdf file! There is another huge file for out-of-state residents. That PDF is 21mb. They are all against and seem to be put in a format where all you had to do was put your name and where you are from and that you are “against” the regulation. Yet another file with unknown residency is over 3mb, and a file described as “other” is only half a megabyte. Most of those were blank emails or asking the Secretary questions about when the vote was.
Last week, I was listening to the Rick Jensen show on WDEL. It was when they were doing their “Weasel of the Year”. Of course it went to this controversy with a huge amount of votes. But during the show, Jensen made it sound like Delaware Governor John Carney had some problems with the wording when it came to parental rights. Which I find interesting since he never mentions the words “opt out” when it comes to standardized testing or the Smarter Balanced Assessment. But I digress.
I am predicting a HUGE crowd for this. Probably why they are using the conference center at Del-Tech. But with the amount of public comments, they might want to consider renting out the Dover Downs Speedway.
Happy New Year! 2018 began with freezing temperatures. Anyone who ventured up to NYC to watch the ball drop is crazy in my book! But you only live once. This is going to be a big year. So what’s coming? A LOT! Continue reading
I came back from Star Wars: The Last Jedi last Friday night and saw a post from Steve Newton on Facebook. I always read his posts because I know they are going to be interesting. Once I read the second sentence, I knew somehow I was going to be a part of this post. Since Steve specifically said at the end of it not to reply with reasons or justifications, I gave a brief reply acknowledging he was talking about me and fully owning my posts about one of the two people he was talking about in his post. Since then, Steve has taken it upon himself to wage some bizarre one-man crusade against the validity of this blog. See the comments section over on Blue Delaware. You can read Steve’s opening salvo he posted on Facebook in that article. I also posted an article mainly in reply to Steve’s post. It was already in my drafts folder but I added to it due to the nature of Steve’s post.
This is what I wrote in reply to Steve’s original post: Continue reading
The 4th Senate District race is on! A few days ago, Democrat Dan Cruce dropped out of the race clearing the way for Laura Sturgeon to take on Republican Greg Lavelle. Taking on the guy who has been in office since 2001 won’t be an easy task, but if anyone can do it, it’s Sturgeon! A teacher, wife, and also a member of the Delaware State Education Association Executive Board, Sturgeon comes with a packed resume.
For Lavelle, who served as a member of the House of Representatives from 2001-2013 and the Senate since then, can he muster the support to continue his Senate seat? Delaware Liberal reported yesterday that there are now more registered Republicans than Democrats in the district. Lavelle is a huge supporter of Right To Work laws whereas Sturgeon is not. In education, Lavelle is known more for flip-flopping on the Smarter Balanced vote than anything else. This is a guy, when presented with the opt out bill for a second time, actually said “I wish I could opt out of voting on this bill”.
The Delaware General Election is still far away but several new contenders are putting their names forward. I expect this particular race to get heated very soon! If I were a betting man, Lavelle will attempt to gain votes by discussing the recent DSEA endorsement of Regulation 225. Sturgeon, a teacher in Brandywine, will gain votes from those opposed to Right To Work laws. This will be a very interesting race to watch!
The Delaware State Board of Education has a vacancy! Board member Gregory Coverdale resigned before the November State Board meeting and it was announced by President Dennis Loftus at the meeting. His term expired prior to that but he decided to continue his seat until a replacement was found. Coverdale was unable to continue serving due to work commitments. Chances are good Governor John Carney will wait until the new year to nominate Coverdale’s replacement. The 149th General Assembly returns in mid-January.
The State Board of Ed has their next meeting on December 14th, at 5pm. The big news will be the charter school renewal-palooza with five schools awaiting the big decision. Public comment on those renewals ended today. Academia Antonia Alonso, Early College High School, First State Montessori Academy, Sussex Academy, and Thomas Edison Charter School are all up for renewal. Delaware Secretary of Education will announce her recommendation for each school and then the State Board will vote on each school.
Other items on the agenda for the State Board meeting include an update on the State Board’s Literacy Campaign, a presentation on the DPAS Annual Report, a Regulation dealing with matching Delaware state code with Federal Law concerning visually impaired students, a Regulation about Financial Literacy and Computer Science standards, a few Regulations from the Professional Standards Board on teacher licensure, and a couple of information items about appeals between students and the Smyrna School District.
What is NOT on the agenda is Regulation 225. For those who don’t know, the Regulation received 11,000 comments which will take some time for Secretary Bunting to review. She did thank all who submitted public comment. This information appeared on the agenda for the meeting on Thursday concerning Regulation 225:
The public comment period for proposed 225 Prohibition of Discrimination Regulation closed on December 4, 2017. The Department received more than 11,000 comments, which deserve careful review before a decision is made. Secretary Bunting is asking the Development Team to reconvene in January to review the comments and make recommendations for changes to the regulation. If substantive changes are made, the regulation will be published in the Register again with another 30-day public comment period before any decision on a final regulation is made.
Secretary Bunting thanks, those who shared their feedback during the formal comment period. All comments received will be posted online so the public, as well as committee members, can review them prior to the January Development Team meeting.
I expect a full house with the charter renewals so if you plan on attending I would get there early! Good luck to Greg Coverdale in his future endeavors!
The first time I heard anyone going off about what eventually became Regulation 225 was State Rep. Rich Collins. A couple of months ago, the Republican State Rep. from the 41st district lashed out against the Delaware Department of Education over the draft for the regulation. He did not like that parental rights were seemingly violated in this gender identity discrimination regulation. Which started off more controversy in Delaware than I’ve seen in a long time. It probably got more response than opt out did. Which I find to be a crying shame cause I think, in the long run, that is a much more important issue. But I’m biased like that. Not ashamed to admit it. But I digress…
Collins fired the shot heard around Delaware. From there, the regulation continued to find many who opposed it. The final day for public comment on it was today, at 4pm. It is now in the hands of Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting. Will she approve it? Disapprove it? We will find out soon. Perhaps as early as December 14th, the next State Board of Education meeting. I would guess she will hold onto it for a little while. Or maybe Carney just wants it over as soon as possible, one way or another.
The part about Collins’ role in all this was he isn’t a state rep I’ve found to get involved in many education-related things. I guess this one hit home for him in his neck of the woods.
Ever since Regulation 225 hit the Delaware Registrar of Regulations, I’ve been scratching my head over it. I’ve gone back and forth on it a few dozen times. To be crystal clear, I support any anti-discrimination measure for ANY student. No questions asked. Some of the Facebook comments I’ve seen from some who oppose the bill are filled with hate and misunderstanding. I’ve wondered what the purpose behind all this was, and today I may have received an answer. Continue reading
Between Regulation 225 and the public beating him up over a plan to close three schools in Wilmington, Delaware, the ground shook in Delaware today. It shook from Massachusetts to Virginia. Reports of a 4.1 magnitude earthquake from the U.S.G.S. only measure the tremors, not the cause. It was Delaware Governor John Carney’s approval rating sinking to a new low. The irony of this happening within miles of the capital of Delaware was not lost on me.
Perhaps it was an earthquake, but the fact that this is the biggest earthquake in recorded Delaware history says something. As Delaware Republicans get ready to pounce on Democrats in the 2018 elections with no mercy, the aftershocks could be one for the record books. The people are speaking loudly and they want change. If the tremors were not caused by Carney’s approval rating it could have been the collective roar of Delawareans saying “Enough!”. We the people are getting tired of the status quo and change is in the wind. Too many legislators who I refer to as “lifers” sitting pretty in Legislative Hall without a care in the world. Leadership is horrible. It is time. It isn’t even about party affiliation as much anymore. It is about things getting worse in Delaware: in our communities, in our homes, in our schools, in our wallets. It is about taxpayer dollars not being spent wisely. It is about a growing (and fast) discontent with those who think the State of Delaware is their playground.
In the meantime, the Dover tree lighting went ahead without a hitch, unless you count a couple of legislators and the Kent County Levy Court singing “Frosty the Snowman”. If that earthquake happened two hours later I would have sworn it would have been because of that singing. A huge crowd came to Dover to see the annual celebration and watch kids sing.
Delaware Governor John Carney hasn’t even been in his job a year and already he has managed to irk me more than former Governor Jack Markell. Why? Many reasons. Continue reading
When Regulation 225 hit the Delaware Registrar of Regulations on November 1st, it sparked a firestorm that will get more controversial by the day. The regulation is causing a furor among Republican groups. Legislators are receiving phone calls and emails from constituents who are vehemently opposed to the regulation. What is the controversy? Continue reading